It is tempting to put the boot into Bordeaux 2009. The expectations were so high at the outset, as were the prices, that after all the perfect Parker points there was really only one way for sentiment to go. For me it remains a case of sentiment. Only the most curmudgeonly of tasters would surely find fault with a generally thrilling set of wines shown at the MW Institute’s 2009 claret tasting last November.
Granted there are over-ripe characters present in some wines, alongside the occasional own goal of over-extraction, but no vintage, even a great one, is going to prove entirely homogeneous. Overall, I think 2009 has delivered on its potential. The high spots are simply too numerous to mention. I tasted glass after glass of beautiful wine. On the left bank especially there is such fabulous fruit, deceptive scale and wonderfully fine tannin in many, many wines. Even despite their exuberance, the wines remain nimble on their feet and it’s a combination that makes many, though by no means all, delicious to drink already. The sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac are a seductive, unctuous bunch too. You can open most of these today.
Where you sit on 2009 depends ultimately on your taste. If you’ve a penchant for the flamboyant and exhilarating then this is your vintage. If you want to work harder for your pleasure, or wait longer, maybe 2010 Bordeaux is a better fit. I’m not sure we’re yet in a position to say which is the better vintage. And that’s really the wrong question. These vintages are chalk and cheese.
Your view of 2009 will also depend on what your expectations were. If you bought the vintage heavily en primeur [as I did], then save for a few exceptions [generally the hundred pointer new kids on the block] financially you’d have done far better to have laid in wait. Hindsight’s a fine thing of course but as an investment vehicle 2009 has proved a disaster in the short run. All the first growths can be bought today for substantially less then their release prices, in the case of Lafite-Rothschild at a Tesco-like discount. Most of the rest, if they haven’t come down, haven’t budged much at all. In that sense 2009 looks to be a vintage to buy now while it’s at rock-bottom.
That’s my summary. So if you’ve a lot of 2009 sitting your cellar or in-bond, while you’ve probably not made a bob or too [yet], you are undoubtedly sitting on some remarkable Bordeaux to drink. I’ll be following with detailed posts on all the appellations over the coming days. Hope they prove useful!